Thursday, 21 February 2013

Paint with me!

Hello beauties!

I haven't painted a real painting in an extremely long time. Which is sad, because I love the calm it brings to stand in front of the easel and paint something. Digital art is great, but nothing beats getting your hands dirty with paint and blending colours with your fingertips.

As you can gather, I'm a messy painter. There's noting as exciting as splashing colours on a white canvas, and to see the whole picture come alive as you work.

So, because my Draw with Me post was so popular, and so may of you asked for more of this kind of thing, I took pictures as I completed every step of this painting.

I ordered two large canvasses from my father in law (click HERE for his website, Wacky Old Man) long before Christmas, and Jan bought me a BUNDLE of paint for Christmas to get me started on painting again. I did the background around 27 December, but I put in a lot of effort on Monday and I finished it.

What we're going to be painting :

What you'll need :

* A canvas of some sort. Mine was quite large, 1.5 x 750 m.
* I used acrylic paints, to get the misty effect more easily, but you can use oils or gouache if you prefer. My colour scheme consisted of :
     * Various blues (I used cobalt, sky, prussian and cerulean)
     * Various greens (phthalo and perm green light. Viridian would have worked too)
     * Titanium White
     * Black
     * Cad Orange and a hint of Violet.
* Pallet
* Various brushes, including at least one large, one medium, one small and one fan brush. (I also used an old dishcloth in the end)
* Water for your brushes and to mix milky colour in. If you've opted for oils, you'll need turpentine instead of the water. Gouache works with water too.
* About two days.

Step by step, this is what I did :

Step one :

I painted the background. I wanted the light source to be slightly off centre, so I focussed white and very light blue there, making the paint darker as I went to the sides of the canvas.

I had a large brush for this, which was of such terrible quality, that it was ruined before I could finish this. So, I finished by washing the canvas in colour, using an old dishcloth.

Step two. I decided my canvas was too dark and I mixed a VERY watery light blue colour, using about four times the amount of water to the paint. Also, more white and just a drop of blue! Otherwise it would still have been too dark.

With the same dishcloth, I washed the canvas again, following the curve of the colours so far. This following pic shows the result.

 Step three

Using my smallest brush and an extremely light hand, I plotted in the trees farthest back. I didn't draw these out beforehand, I just went with what I felt. In fact, I didn't plot out any of this painting!

If you're a planner, you could plot the basic thing out with very light pencil marks, but that could still show through the paint, since we're using such a runny solution.

Again, I used very watery paint to give that misty feeling. I also allowed my hand to move naturally, with shakes and shivers and bumps and all. :)

I worked from top to bottom, painting in the stem before I started on gentle branches. Working from top to bottom with runny paint is always good, since there probably will be drops of paint deciding to run down the canvas. But don't panic! The drops will follow the course of the tree stem you've just painted in and it all adds to the effect we're going for.

I used a stronger hand with one or two of these trees. Keep in mind that the thicker and more opaque the stem, the closer it will appear to the front of the landscape. While the reverse is true as well; the thinner and more transparent the tree, the further back it will appear. This is going to help the whole thing seem more three dimensional.

Also, don't try to be too perfect in this step. The more bumps and curves your hand ads to the trees, the more realistic they'll seem. Trees are far from perfect!! This is just a closer shot of the 'ghost trees'.

I didn't put any trees in front of the light source, to make it seem like a passage between the trees. But you could add trees to the light as well. Just keep them lighter in colour than those closer to the darker patches.

 Step Four

Using the same principle, add thicker trees to the canvas. These should have more detailed branches and you can add some plays with light and dark here as well.

I kept them more transparent all the same. This is still not the focal point of the painting and we don't want to draw too much attention to these trees.

The following pic is a close-up shot again. See, still not perfect.

Step five.

Using black paint and a thick brush, I painted in two trees with branch detail. These are going to be the focal points of the piece.

The black is a form of underpainting, to make the colour you put on top of it pop, so to speak. It's the same concept as in makeup, when you cover the lid with a black paintpot or kajal liner, to serve as a base for the colour you put over it.

 Step six

Using black again and a fan brush, I added some grass detail. You simply have to push down on the canvas with the fan brush to create that grassy effect, you don't need to drag or swipe it.

Given, this uses up more paint, but it gives a more realistic feel to the painting.

You could just stop here. The black trees and grass look cool and give a different end result than what I went for.

 Step seven

When the black is dry and your fan brush is washed, go over the grass again with greens, black and white. I dipped my brush into two or three colours at a time and dabbed it onto the canvas to create grass with individual blades.

Keep your light source in mind, as well as the fact that grass doesn't grow just upwards. Tilt your brush from side to side and add some gentle dragging motions here and there to make it look more realistic. We don't want it to be perfect, because a painterly quality to an art piece is always cool! So don't panic if it doesn't look like a photograph. :)

Ignore the white on the branches, I had some paint left and I didn't want it to go to waste, so I slapped it on the tree. :P

 Step eight.

Using my orange, black and darkest green, I mixed a brown colour. I also added white to this scheme after I remembered I needed highlights as well.

Then, paint over the two black trees.

Again, keep in mind where the light is coming from and how it would hit the tree. I wanted the one to be darker and turned from the light more, so I made it that way.

I used a lot of the original black for shadows and simply added highlights, especially to the branches.

If you're uncertain how light would fall on something, try playing with a flash light over objects. Put it at the angle you have in mind and mimic the light patterns you can see. This is really much easier than it seems to most people!

This following shot is a detail pic of one of these.

Step nine

Add your name to your work!!

Paint the sides of the canvas as you like. I just cleaned up the original white of the canvas where I made a mess.

And then, the finished painting :

Hope you enjoyed this!

Remember to read the novel and vote. Thank you to those of you who have already voted! Jan is quite upset because his favourite option "They get caught in a storm" isn't in the lead any more. I'm just happy the bandits are winning! :P We need some action already!! Please, help me out here and tell your friends and family about my blog and my online novel. It's really appreciated, especially since getting my writing out there in the world is going to help get my official novel published.

Just an update on my novel, since some of you have been asking. It's officially being edited! I nearly burst into tears the other day when we printed it on REAL paper! I mean, it's always been on the computer screen  and now, it's real, if you catch my meaning.

This is a picture of my novel printed on A4 paper, next to The Fellowship of the Ring. Now, imagine me jumping madly up and down in front of this, with tears squirting from my eyes like a cartoon, and you have the full picture.

I also mentioned that I couldn't find someone to do my maps for me, because any fantasy novel needs maps! I was quoted HECTIC amounts of money for this and it nearly broke my spirit. But, then I took up the proverbial pen (stylus in my case) and tried my own hand at those maps. Using real maps of 18th century Paris and Italy as reference, I drew my maps and they look great! Even if I have to say so myself.

What I'm saying is this; by July this year, my book will be available for purchase as e-book. So hold onto your seats, because things are going to be turned upside down for the Couch soon. This is a dream and it's coming true. I can't explain this feeling to you! :) Watch this space, big things are happening.

Stay beautiful and be kind to animals,


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